{Create Your Own} Coconut: Foody Friday

Foody Friday Create Your own

I remember as a kid not really liking coconut. All I ever knew of it was shredded coconut in desserts. I think what I didn’t like about it was the texture. I would eat foods that had coconut in it, but I didn’t enjoy it much.Coconuts

However, my opinion of coconut has changed in the last year or so. It all started when Miss Tickles was just six weeks old. She started breaking out all over her face with red, rough dry patches. Our doctor told us right away, cut out all polyester and for me to stop drinking milk because I was breastfeeding. Every time I drank dairy milk or ate ice cream, she would break out and spit up a lot. I switched to soy milk but decided that I didn’t like the taste as much and didn’t want to worry about too much soy in my diet. I tried coconut milk, and, while it took a little bit to get used to it, I enjoy the taste now. Since drinking and using coconut milk in recipes (most often baking) that call for milk, my taste for coconut has developed more and piqued my interest to more coconut products.

I’m sure many of you have already heard of the benefits of coconut oil. And if you haven’t, I encourage you to do some research. We picked up some coconut oil at the natural foods store one day because I was intrigued and wanted to try it. We started off using it when we popped our popcorn. YUM! I don’t want popcorn any other way now. In fact, even when I am using coconut oil for other things, my first thought when I smell it is popcorn. Here’s a quick How-to on popping popcorn with coconut oil:

Melting Coconut Oil

Cooking popcorn in coconut oil

When the oil is melted, place two kernals in the pot and cover. After those two pop, add 1/3 cup kernals and cover. As the popcorn starts to pop, lift the lid slightly and shake the pan back and forth as it finishes popping on the stove. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl.

Popcorn cooked in coconut oil

Sprinkle with a little sea salt and enjoy!

It comes as a solid but as you heat it, it melts to liquid. Most of the time in baking and such, you want to melt it first or it won’t mix in with the recipe. The first time I made muffins with it, I didn’t melt it first. They turned out ok, but every once in awhile there was a pocket of air in the muffin and a more distinct oily taste. The muffins also didn’t turn out as moist because the oil was not able to work throughout the batter.

Since then, I have started using coconut oil to replace anything that calls for vegetable or canola oil. I think it tastes better and prefer the health benefits to the possible negative affects of the vegetable/canola oils.

Just this week I picked up a bag of coconut sugar. Mom made some brownies with it recently, and since we stopped using white sugar and brown sugar, I have been trying to figure out another substitute other than honey and maple for certain recipes that require a non-liquid sugar option. My Hubby is quite the tea drinker, so I was hoping that it would be a good replacement in his sweet tea. Unfortunately, he and our adopted daughter (FYI: she is 20 and doesn’t live with us) made it abundantly clear that they did not prefer it…I think the exact words were that it tasted like vomit. I tasted it and couldn’t figure out what was so bad, but my viewpoint was quickly discounted because I am not a “sweet tea drinker.”

I doubt I will be able to convince them to try it again, but the coconut sugar won’t go to waste because it tasted delicious in the brownie recipe I subbed it in (I used 1 cup coconut sugar and 1/2 cup honey instead of the 2 cups brown sugar. I also would cut the salt to 1/2 tsp or less if you use salted butter. And completely disregard and laugh hysterically when it tells you to let them sit overnight before eating. Are you kidding me??? Who makes brownies to not eat them till the next day). Grab a plate, a nice glass of coconut milk, and a good book. Delicious!

Brownies with Coconut Sugar

My next venture in coconut is using shredded coconut in some recipes. We tried this one, which also uses coconut oil, and it tasted so yummy! My kids devoured them, well, at least the ones that were left after mom and I ate half of them. At least I think mom had a few of them.

Energy Bites

Energy Bites with shredded coconut and coconut oil

I have never tried coconut water or coconut flour, but I am sure I will at some point. Coconut water is supposed to be a great natural alternative to sports drinks. And even though we haven’t had issues that caused us to pursue a gluten-free diet, I am always up for new things, so I am sure the coconut flour would be fun to try. Besides, I have friends who have to deal with it. There are differences though in how you use it in replacement of regular wheat so be sure to read up on that.

If you have never liked coconut or just don’t think about using it, I encourage you to give a try soon. Start with one thing and then maybe you will want to try even more.

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